Pre-Release - Detail Engraves, Proofgrade, and Why Masking Is Great

I spent a little while last night and a bit of tonight working on a new version of the stargate i made previously for my pops. It happens to be a great thing to do test cuts with because it has so much detail! Ive been scaling it down pretty small to keep engrave times down and now waste as much material in testing (ive cut like 6 of these).

Below you will see two test engraves I did with different versions of the design.

The first thing I will tell you is that the detail this can put out is amazing!!!.. and I love being able to make color changes to vector designs and have them be rendered in different shades in the engraves. You can see the distinct dark and light rings. The dark ones were set as grey, the light ones were set as white. The lines and symbols were black. (I changed the chevrons in the top photo to be white which is why theyre different from the lower engrave).

On to materials. I will have to say I have a ton of materials, but I am loving the consistency of the proofgrade plywoods. They are premium, and way more consistent than home depot/lowes plies. The top photo/engrave is home depot/lowes birch ply, and the bottom one is proofgrade. There are noticeable variations in the non-proofgrade ply (understandable as it wasnt designed to be laser cut).

@jacobturner asked in another thread why not just forego the use of masking on detailed prints instead of trying to come up with a kind that can be removed without lots of rubbing or picking?

Well if you take a look at the differences between the light rings in the first and second photos you can easily see why the masking is great. The contrast you can get out of this material without the stains is INCREDIBLE. Also if you have outer borders on cuts/engraves they will be stained by smoke. Having that masking tape on can make a huge difference in appearance.

Hopefully I will have a more final version of this to show you guys later, but for now im loving these little ones. Its snowing here, so off to play in the snow!

this photo: non proofgrade, no masking, chevrons were colored white in this one

this photo: proofgrade, masking, chevrons were colored grey in this one (earlier design version)


You’re making it even more difficult to wait!

But - wow at the difference!


Oh, my… Those are fantastic!. :squee:


well thats just delightful.


Wow! I’d never thought of “char” as being a desirable design element. You have changed my mind, sir. Beautiful work.


The crazy thing is that these were only at like 1/4 the LPI possible… maybe 1/5. Pretty awesome


You know I have to give all that credit to the glowforge team and the work theyve been doing with the proofgrade presets! I just picked dark engrave from the proofgrade menu. It did the rest.

I have obviously done my fair share of engraves already, but they got this part just right. I probably never would have used a setting that pushed the material to this level, but Im glad they did! Its not quite charred, its right at the border, and the amount of contrast it gives is incredible to be honest. I cant wait to do a photo engrave. Probably will try a few tomorrow!

I havent even touched the proofgrade walnut or leather yet!


Really neat how fine the lines are and a good use of the engraving to bring out the detail. I doubt if I’ll ever get to it, but a mixed media one with acrylic that actually has spinning rings and overlays in the chevron indicators would be absolutely amazing and possible just with the Glowforge and a motor. Then sometimes I just see someone else’s work and can just be happy that they made it and I can just enjoy what they produce.

The masking does fit into design considerations well.


Don’t worry. Already in my hopper.


I seriously have been planning on making one of these for my dad when my Glowforge arrives—This looks awesome!


Its in my hopper too, in fact thew first thing I’m doing! Been planning out a big wall art piece with a working Stargate.

@takitus Like I said when you posted your first iteration, we are kindred spirits. Your work is amazing, and I’m happy they chose you for a pre-release unit! :slight_smile:


This is gorgeous. Great to see the difference in settings and materials. It’s such a pleasure to watch your explorations. Thanks so much for sharing!


These are gorgeous and the detail is incredible :smiley:

Thanks so much for the picts and for sharing :yum:


Yes. The quality that a GF can provide is amazing I think. These both look great! Really cool :smile:


It’s really awesome to hear you say the things that I think as well, but haven’t said yet. You have much more experience using a laser than I, so it’s great to hear your enthusiasm and amazement that I was realizing as a novice, but having no real basis of comparison. I totally agree… :smile:


I find it funny. You were actually defending yourself a lot when you showed this off on the laser engraving and cutting fb group. I personally love the looks but there is a lot of anti-glowforge bias on that group


man I love Stargate. love the detail and the comparison of proofgrade and non-proofgrade. Thank you!

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lol don’t you mean “laser users with lots of technical know-how?” hahaha.

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Its unfortunate about the select few people there that just want to talk trash. The one guy is telling me this is a trash engrave and then putting up these incredibly terrible pictures of stuff hes done with no dynamic range and poor photoshopping. However these same guys have been around a while, so everyone thinks they are the authority on everything laser.

Its going to be pretty funny when in a few months a lot of glowforge users are posting some incredible engraves that took them no effort while these same guys are going to be spending hours to still be putting out subpar, poorly engraved, ratty looking trinkets that no one is going to want to buy from them anymore.

I wish I could refute everything they complain about, but this unit being pre-release, its still has some limitations. The speed for one, isnt anywhere as close to as fast as my k40. But it looks like the quality of engrave is going to be well beyond it.

I have one going right now that I cant wait to post. Ill obviously post it here too, but also there to maybe make them reconsider their trash talking.


My favorite thing from that post is when you offered to share a file and compare results. The person disappeared after that!